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Letter #15

Dear Artist,

How are you handling the stress of being a creator? There are deadlines and often obstacles that seem to arise with each new project. What are your methods to work through issues that are out of your control?


Recent research from Kendra Ray, a doctoral student under Girija Kaimal, EdD, assistant professor of creative arts therapies, and Juan Muniz, PhD, an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences, served as co-authors showing that 45 minutes of art making a day lowered the stress levels in the majority of the participants. Fortunately with this news, you are in the right business to naturally help soften the edges that arise in personal production. But sometimes more needs to be done than just making art to fully deal with the frustrations that can erupt within the creation process.


One thing that helps me is going into each project knowing that no matter what happens I will be able to correct the situation. Rarely does art-making go perfectly each and every time. Whether it’s a brush hair stuck in the varnish, or running out of the perfect paint color just when it’s needed most, the art process can sometimes yields frustrating moments.


Another tried and true method when extra needed endorphins are a must is exercise. Something gentle that helps gets the lymphatic system moving is the best way to help myself physically. The chemicals used in art making can cause extra stress on the body. Supporting the natural detoxification system is quite important. One theory about Vincent van Gogh was that he was so inundated with toxic chemicals from the paints of his day that it caused him to loose his rational sense. Even in modern times we should be cautious of what we are allowing to soak into our skin. Physical activity can help our bodies to gently release toxins naturally.


To stop the stress from growing artists often need to learn to say no. Other people will ask favors of you because you get things done, and clients will ask too much of you when they forget to commission works until the final hour. Because you are someone who accomplishes much others will ask you to do things specifically for them.


I find that not taking on too much work at one time is key to staying sane. It is only when others ask me to do things for them that I get behind on my own schedule. On deadline weeks I block out my calendar and remind myself to not feel bad about telling others I won’t be able to do whatever the request is until the following week or that I won’t be able to do it at all.


Sometimes people think that just because you are on your own schedule you somehow have more time than others to get things done. You have the same amount of time in a day as everyone else; you just need the majority of it for your art making to be a success.


Make sure to keep in mind that sometimes life has a way of throwing curve balls at you so give yourself a little room to have an unexpected element slow down your creation process. If you do, your stress will be minimal and your art will be better because of it.


Need a little help making sure your work is ready for the deadline? Send me a photo to Instagram @ Uncle5star_studioselfie4 and I will give you a quick 5 ★ rating.


Learn to say no and make more art,


Uncle Salvador

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